Summer, Summer, Summertime

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

We are deep in summer mode over here. And it seems like the days are blitzing by faster than ever.

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My husband has been traveling non-stop and luckily we were able to tag along on one of his recent work trips to Maui of all beautiful places. We rented a very simple VRBO in a great location and played in the ocean from 7:30am on. 

I packed all the essentials...

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My suitcase was nearly identical to the one I took on our little trip to the beach last May. It's worth mentioning Suntegrity face sunscreen (I use the light shade) yet again. It is THE best and kept me well protected even while spending the entire day in the surf and the sun. Also these GoToob containers are new to me but they are fantastic. Easy to fill, easy to clean and spill-proof...

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Back home we are in the middle of a heatwave and I've been on the hunt for a great linen dress. I just ordered this one which has great potential...

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And while most of my yard is looking a bit toasty and dried out, my tomatoes and my Row 7 cucumbers are going gangbusters...

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Since I was solo for dinner tonight I happily ate the entire batch of this smashed cucumber salad straight out of the mixing bowl standing at the kitchen counter...

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And washed it down with a cold beer. This gluten-free blonde ale from local Ghostfish Brewing Company is really hitting the spot on these hot days...

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My sister-in-law just welcomed her third baby girl a week ago. We stopped by over the weekend to drop off food in exchange for some serious brand new tiny baby holding. I made this great turkey meat loaf from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Easy that I mentioned here. (I like the Mary's free-range ground turkey for this which you can find locally at Metropolitan Market.) If you don't have the book, Pamela Salzman posted the recipe here...

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I also made a double batch of this simple carrot salad (without the sunflower seeds and avocados). It is so simple and refreshing. And for a treat I made these peanut butter and jelly crumble bars (also from Pamela Salzman). I personally enjoy them straight from the freezer.

As the summer days continue to fly by, I am finding that no matter how pared down the schedule and how free and purposely unscheduled the days are, there is never enough time. Most of my days are filled with the household tasks that our lives are made of without room for much else. Books I've started are languishing on the nightstand. I have a list of things I'd love to work on. Number one on that list is revisiting my Spanish language study. And also doing a little Pilates matwork in the cool basement. I'd even love to just watch a show or two (I'm looking at you Killing Eve). But alas, by the time the chores are done, my son is in bed and I've prepped what needs to be prepped for the next day it is already bedtime.

Maybe there will be some extra time in the near future. And maybe not.

Right now my task is to be fully here. And as I type this, I'm sitting contentedly on the sofa in the dark with all the windows open, a lukewarm breeze coming through and I spy Venus out in the distance hanging high above in a perfectly clear sky.

 

 

 

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

by Kelsi in , ,


 
The most radical thing about him was his unwavering commitment to the value of kindness in the face of the world that could seem intent on devising new ways to be mean. “Let’s make the most of this beautiful day,” he would sing at the start of each episode. He made it sound so simple, but also as if he knew just how hard it could be.

"What Mister Rogers tried to teach us — how to navigate “some of the more difficult modulations” in everyday life — might now be classified as emotional literacy. He acknowledged that anger, fear and other kinds of hurt are part of the human repertoire and that children need to learn to speak honestly about those feelings, and to trust the people they share them with."

Read the whole NYT review here

 

Paloma Slushies

by Kelsi in


 

It is Father's Day and 82 degrees. We are celebrating the day with ice cold paloma slushies courtesy of Julia Turshen's Small Victories. Truly, if I could only keep one cookbook in my collection, it would be this one. If you don't already have it, consider adding it to yours.

I have a feeling that this is going to be our 2018 summer cocktail...

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PALOMA SLUSHIES  (adapted slightly from Julia Turshen's Small Victories)

serves 2

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup grapefruit juice (this is a great one)

1/2 cup mezcal (or tequila)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 cups (360 g) ice cubes

Put the lime juice, honey, grapefruit juice, mezcal, salt and ice in a high speed blender; blend until the ice its totally blitzed and the mixture is very smooth.

Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.

 

 

 

FATHER'S DAY

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

My son and I are getting ready to celebrate the #1 Dad in our life tomorrow. Breakfast will include a frittata with yukon golds and lots of herbs from the garden and per my son's request, "A LOT of bacon" (presumably so he doesn't have to battle his dad for it). If you need a good frittata recipe Pamela Salzman has some great ones

Father's Day or not, here are some good gifts to celebrate the great husband, brother or father in your life...

This beautiful low-profile wallet from Grovemade in Portland...

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A pair of Allbirds...

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Jim Olson's gorgeous new book...

I LOVE the Marie Veronique skincare collaboration with Kristina Holey. Marie just released a new line for men, though I would happily use it myself. I have my eye on the shave prep + daily wash as well as the shaving oil as something we would both enjoy...

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This razor would be a nice upgrade to go with it...

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If you're in need of more inspiration, check out Huckberry which always has a stellar collection of great stuff. I dare you not to find something there whatever your price range.

 

A Birthday

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

My sweet boy turned 6 earlier this month. I can hardly believe he has less than a month left of Kindergarten. It has been such a wonderful year of growth not just for him but for us as parents too.

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We always host a birthday party for him at home, which is certainly a celebration of him but also a chance to get together with our extended family and a few close friends. It is always a full house and there is always lots of good food.

This year, I wanted to make The Birthday Cake from Christina Tosi at Momofuku Milk Bar. It looks like a process, and it is, but an incredibly fun one. I so enjoyed putting it together. And the technique of using a cake ring to cut the layers, acetate to build up the side frame and the freezer to set it is genius. I want to make all my layer cakes this way. It's fun and they look incredible. 

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 If your'e not familiar with the Momofuku birthday cake you should watch this video clip of Christina Tosi on Chef's Table and you can find the actual recipe on Bon Appetit...

Also inspired by Christina Tosi, I made a version of her Haute Dogs. However, I used Julia Turshen's foolproof and truly all-purpose yeasted dough recipe from her cookbook Small Victories. I've mentioned her cookbook here at least a few times as it is such a great one. In the cookbook she uses the dough recipe to make 12 raspberry jam buns. I used it to make 12 hot dog rolls (in fact I tripled the recipe to make 36) instead. I also used my stand mixer to initially mix the dough, then kneaded it for a few minutes as instructed. Then I put all three batches into a cambro, covered it with a towel and let it rise for about an hour until doubled in size. I punched it down, covered the bowl with the lid and stuck it in the fridge overnight until I was ready to make them the following morning.

I slathered a mustard butter on each roll and added this red onion jam before rolling them up and baking them. I piled them high on a sheetpan to serve and they were devoured by kids and adults alike.

I also made this great onion dip from Alison Roman served with classic ridged potato chips, a simple and bright cabbage slaw and a quadruple batch of these long time favorite salted brown butter crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen (though I more than double the Maldon sea salt it calls for).

For the adults I found these perfect mini cans of sparking Italian white and rosé at Trader Joe's. They are fantastic for a party, not too sweet and only $4 for a 4/pack...

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I also love hanging lots of paper streamers all over the house. It instantly makes the room feel happy and celebratory. I love the ones from the Oh Happy Day shop...

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In fact I love them so much that the ones in the dining room are still up...

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Lastly (and again related to Christina Tosi) I can't forget to mention these Confetti Cookies...

  Photograph: Gabriele Stabile and Mark Ibold

Photograph: Gabriele Stabile and Mark Ibold

I made them to bring to my son's school on his actual birthday to share with his class. Three things in particular make these incredible. They are inspired by the technique of the snickerdoodle with the addition of cream of tartar. They have an incredibly long creaming process (a Milk Bar signature) about 10 minutes total. And the addition of milk powder which Tosi says adds chewiness as well as a depth of flavor. Full of sugar, dairy, gluten and artificially colored sprinkles! But for a special treat, I'd have a hard time passing up one of these. 

 

From My Wishlist...

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

I am on a bit of a spending hiatus. Overall I am quite conscious about what I buy, but it feels like I've added quite a bit to my closet and the skincare arsenal lately. So I'm taking a break to enjoy and use what I already have. I feel overwhelmed when I have a bit too much stuff and besides, my savings would greatly appreciate the break. (This is also a good time to re-mention YNAB - go check it out.)

Even though I'm not currently buying, it doesn't stop me from looking and adding beautiful things to my wishlist.

I have long wanted a pair of these Hoffman armchairs at the dining room table...

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This perfect Clare V clutch in cuoio vachetta leather that I bet ages beautifully...

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Also from Clare V this green bandana...

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These sweet little stud earrings...

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These rose gold black diamond huggies...

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And THESE, holy cow. They are out of my price range but I love these something terrible...

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I'd buy this dress if I were traveling to Italy this summer...

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And once I get through all of my current favorite facial masks, this one from REN is the next one I'd love to try...

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Also from REN, this body serum...

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And my robe could use an upgrade. This waffle one from Coyuchi is the one I have my eye on...

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Sick Day

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

My son is sick today so I have an unexpected day off. I am grateful for the day at home and a few extra hours to do laundry, tidy-up and pay the bills. Luckily I also happened to have all the ingredients to make this way delicious savory oatmeal from David Tanis for lunch. I know what I'm making for breakfast tomorrow...

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The new Cuyana catalog arrived today and now I want (ahem) these three things, starting with this seersucker flounce top...

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This beautiful travel bag...

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And this seersucker dress with pockets(!)...

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Also going on the wishlist is another pair of Annie Costello Brown earrings. Maybe this pair? Or these?! Too hard to decide.

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I recently bought the pair I've been wanting for the last few years and can't stop wearing them. They elevate any outfit. By the way the pants that I am wearing below are these fantastic wide leg ones from Everlane. I just ordered them in white too...

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Something else that looks gorgeous with these earrings is my new dress from Doen. I bought it to wear to a California wedding this fall but plan to wear it every chance I get before then...

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I also took some time today to sit in the sunshine and read a bit of the third Maisie Dobbs book. One of my clients turned me onto the series and now I am addicted. I love historical fiction and these are great fun to read.

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It's the weekend...

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Finally, some sunshine is arriving in Seattle which is welcome news for us sun-starved Seattleites. It has been a bit bleak the last few weeks...

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I'm going to celebrate by wearing my new Clare V x TOMS leopard espadrilles (seen below). See the whole collection here...

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I likely won't wear them this week but I took advantage of Loeffler Randall's Friends + Family sale last week and finally pulled the trigger on these silver beauties that I have been eyeing the last six months. They are so soft and even more gorgeous in person...

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I've really been enjoying this adaptogenic take on a thai iced tea. Thrive Market has the best price on Sun Potion products by the way. And if you're not making your own, this Aroy-D coconut milk is my favorite one...

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Every time a DWR catalog arrives I linger on the LOLL lounge chairs. Some day I'd love to have a pair of these on the patio...

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I've been wanting to make these beautiful pancakes from Heidi Swanson and I think tomorrow is the day...

  Image from 101 Cookbooks

Image from 101 Cookbooks

Last week I finally watched Franca: Chaos and Creation and loved every minute of it. I might queue it up again this weekend...

  Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via  Departures

Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via Departures

I also am watching this tonight once the kiddo is in bed...

It is likely that I will be mixing up a margarita to enjoy in the sunshine at some point this weekend, but tonight I am drinking a glass of my favorite "house wine" that I've been buying locally at PCC (I have Olaiya to thank for the recommendation). And since I'm solo for dinner tonight (and my husband hates mushrooms) I'm looking forward to making this pea and mushroom sauté from Pamela Salzman that I will devour in peace.

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House Margarita

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It is spring break this week and while most people we know made a mass exodus out of Seattle in search of sunshine (who can blame them) we are having a rather stellar staycation at home. Both my husband and I took the week off. I've been catching up on reading and when I haven't been reading I've been cooking and baking.

Another bright spot has been a visit from dear friends who live in Lake Tahoe that we haven't seen in a few years. When we get together it's like no time has passed. The company and conversation is always easy and there is always laughter. We also drank a few rounds of my "house margarita" which includes my most favorite spirit, mezcal. Yes, yes, and yes.

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A PERFECT MARGARITA

1 oz tequila

1 oz mezcal (I like Vida)

1 tablespoon agave syrup

Juice of 1 lime

Shake and pour over ice (I like these big cube molds for this)

*A note if making these for a crowd - I learned this tip from Julia Turshen. Simply quadruple this recipe (or more if you have a big crowd) and just whisk it all together in a big pitcher. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve and then pour over ice.

 

 

Living with Spaciousness

by Kelsi in , ,


Krista Tippett's conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye is one of the On Being conversations that I have listened to multiple times. Listening this time around it was this part about "living with spaciousness" that stuck with me the most...

MS. TIPPETT: Well, so — I’m very interested in general in this question of what poetry works in us. But I think even that question itself holds the implication that poetry is something separate, something distinct. But it seems that, in your sensibility, you see it as very organic. I mean, there’s — I think it was in some of your writing for poems by children, you said, “I do think that all of us think in poems.”

MS. SHIHAB NYE: I do. I do think that. And I think that is very important, not feeling separate from text, feeling sort of your thoughts as text or the world as it passes through you as a kind of text. The story that you would be telling to yourself about the street, even as you walk down it, or as you drive down it, as you look out the window, the story you would be telling — it always seemed very much to me, as a child, that I was living in a poem, that my life was the poem. And in fact, at this late date, I have started putting that on the board of any room I walk into that has a board.

I just came back from Japan a month ago, and in every classroom, I would just write on the board, “You are living in a poem.” And then I would write other things just relating to whatever we were doing in that class. But I found the students very intrigued by discussing that. “What do you mean, we’re living in a poem?” Or, “When? All the time, or just when someone talks about poetry?” And I’d say, “No, when you think, when you’re in a very quiet place, when you’re remembering, when you’re savoring an image, when you’re allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another, that’s a poem. That’s what a poem does.” And they liked that.

And a girl, in fact, wrote me a note in Yokohama on the day that I was leaving her school that has come to be the most significant note any student has written me in years. She said, “Well, here in Japan, we have a concept called ‘yutori.’” And it is spaciousness. It’s a kind of living with spaciousness. For example, it’s leaving early enough to get somewhere so that you know you’re going to arrive early, so when you get there, you have time to look around. Or — and then she gave all these different definitions of what yutori was to her.

But one of them was — and after you read a poem just knowing you can hold it, you can be in that space of the poem. And it can hold you in its space. And you don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to paraphrase it. You just hold it, and it allows you to see differently. And I just love that. I mean, I think that’s what I’ve been trying to say all these years. I should have studied Japanese. [laughs] Maybe that’s where all our answers are. In Japanese.